Thursday, 31 July 2014

Miki's Tavern

It would have been rude not to, wouldn't it? Hot, hot day and a letter needed to be sent to the UK. The Post Office is across the square from Miki's and so a cold beer was the order of the day. Perhaps a little lunchtime snack, a snooze at home and then a swim to cool off. Whoever said retirement was boring.

Yesterday we met the Argaka Mukhtar, Spyros, whom I asked to witness a form for the International Pension Service. He arrived, complete with stamp (official stamps are all the rage here) and - without breaking stride - I was offering to create a new website for the village. A lot of time and money is being spent to improve the village, and the planting of new palm trees along the coast is just the first step. A super duper, all singing and dancing website, to promote the village and to be the focal point for enquiries and information will help. After all, we are now "villagers".

The deputy Mukhtar, Yannis, runs one of the local bars and Ann was chatting to him to see what voluntary work she could do to help some of the most needy people in Argaka. Running events at the bar, with a guaranteed percentage going into a pot to help the poorer villagers, will be challenging. Ann has agreed to run a bingo evening, and I shall run a quiz evening through the winter months when all the tourists have gone home. The "Fly Again" remains open during the winter whilst most of the other bars and restaurants close, and so is worthy of support. A "Pamper Evening" for the ladies is planned (which Ann ran at the High Beech Hotel when she was manager there) could be a tonic in those relatively chilly evenings.

It is a chilling fact that many Greek Cypriots, the elderly and the unemployed particularly, are suffering from the economic chaos on the island. The Troika's demands will bring even more widespread poverty, and it is acknowledged that unemployment in the public sector has not even started yet. Many of our Cypriot friends realise the worst is yet to come. Expats, those with pensions and other index-linked income from the UK (and other parts of the EU) are insulated from much of this, and - if we can - we will try to help.

Spending a lot of thinking time and some mind-mapping in preparation for my Retirement Guide to Cyprus, and every time I put my thinking hat on new topics spring to mind.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I suppose the question we asked ourselves a couple of years ago simply "Did we want to live our golden years (yes, I know - a dreadful cliché) in the sun? The answer was a resounding "Yes."

For my wife Ann, it was a very brave decision as she had never been to Cyprus before. I had, and had holidayed on Greek Islands for years before we met. Why Cyprus? In the 1970s there was a BBC holiday programme (name long forgotten) that described Cyprus as the island with the most perfect climate in the world, and that statement stuck in my head over the years.

The research into life on Cyprus in the 21st Century was all-consuming at times, and the information we picked up (and the ill-informed opinions promulgated on some of the "expat" forums) was what caused me to decide to write a retirement guide to the island.

Nearly two years down the line, and with solid experience to inform us, the idea grew and grew. We had kept and published a diary of our preparations before coming to Cyprus, and also a diary in the months after we arrived. But, what was missing, was reliable information (not tarnished by sometimes ill-informed opinion) to help those who would follow in our wake.

In the coming weeks and perhaps months, that information will be organised and checked so that our retirement guide will hopefully be a reference work for those who wish to retire to the sun, with the minimum of stress.

Cost of living, the political situation, the banking crisis, simple "How do I do this?" guides, and "Where do I go to do this?" and "Who do I see to get this done?" will be a part of my ebook. Renting or buying? Buying a car, or importing a car. The health service as it is and what it is likely to become. Tax, pensions, learning to speak Cypriot Greek, driving (and the advanced driving course I have undertaken) and a whole myriad  of other questions will be dealt with.

And not forgetting that things change and will change as a result of the Troika, this ebook will be updated as and when important changes are made.

Moving to a new country is a terrific adventure ... so I hope you will benefit from this venture as much as I will enjoy doing it. Feel free to comment and ask questions. The water is lovely. Come on in.

Retirement in Cyprus

Well I intended to start writing this blog some months ago but retirement soon gets in the way. In any event we have been in Cyprus for nearly two years and the time has just flown by.

So here goes ...

The bottom line of all of this is that I have decided to write a guide to retiring to Cyprus, and will publish it as an ebook. We have discovered so much, had so much advice and help, and realised that a successful retirement is all about having the information to hand.

With that in mind, over the next couple of months, I have set myself the task of writing my guide to retiring here, bringing together all the information we have needed to establish ourselves in a new country.